Research published this month in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that having balanced baking soda, or bicarbonate, levels in your body could reduce your chances of an early death.
The study examined data compiled in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study for 2,287 participants. Participants were healthy adults who, at the onset of the study in 1997, were between the ages of 70 and 79, and were followed for approximately 10 years. Survival data were gathered through February 2014.
What did they find?
Study author Dr. Kalani Raphael, associate professor and nephrology and hypertension specialist at the University of Utah, and colleagues investigated pH, carbon dioxide and bicarbonate in association with long-term survival. According to the University of Utah press release, “Critically ill patients with severe acid-base abnormalities have a very low likelihood of surviving their illness, but it’s unclear whether more subtle changes in the body’s acid-base status have an effect on the longevity of relatively healthy older people.”
Raphael and colleagues found that low levels of bicarbonate may be linked to an increased risk for premature death by 24 percent. Sodium bicarbonate assists your body in balancing pH levels, possibly extending life. “What we found was that generally healthy older people with low levels of bicarbonate had a higher risk of death,” Raphael said. “Adding the pH measurement into the equation didn’t change the results, which is important because pH is not routinely measured.”
The study’s findings may assist clinicians in better assessing a patient’s risk of premature death by analyzing their blood bicarbonate concentrations more closely. Clinicians can recommend dietary adjustments to patients with low bicarbonate concentrations to optimize health.
What does it mean for me?
How do you get more baking soda in your life? Surprisingly, the answer has nothing to do with that yellow box in your fridge fighting odors. If you want to balance your pH levels by getting more sodium bicarbonate in your diet, eating more fruits and vegetables is the key.
Fruits and vegetables high in potassium and bicarbonate will have a negative potential renal acid load (PRAL) score. This represents the amount of acid produced by the kidneys after metabolism. The higher the negative, the more potassium and bicarbonate they will provide, potentially reducing your risk of premature death, according to the study. Apples, raisins, spinach, bananas, carrots, broccoli, lemons and even coffee are a few sources that will boost your potassium and bicarbonate levels.
Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables to keep a healthy pH balance?